Among the ways to shop smart and save money when it comes to your mobile contract are family plans – discounts for households who all use the same provider.
These can net some tidy savings, along with other perks such as data sharing between people on the same account.
We’ve picked five of the best family mobile phone plans available, each offering different advantages, such as a 20% discount, data gifting or a variable free monthly perk.
Read our guide on 10 ways to save money on your mobile phone bill for more tips to help reduce your outgoings.
What is a family or shared mobile plan?
A family or shared mobile plan is usually controlled by one main account, but can have multiple deals operating from it. For some family plans, everyone using the account has to have the same data plan, whereas for others, the group can all have different deals.
However, keep in mind that these types of deals can discourage switching to a better deal in the future, as there could be extra hassle organizing everyone to switch from a shared deal.
Our survey and pricing analysis calculates the top performing networks, along with those to avoid. In our round-up of the best and worst UK mobile networks you can see how smaller providers performed against the Big Four – O2, Vodafone, EE and Three.
What to consider before buying a family or shared mobile plan
Use this checklist to help when thinking about the best type of family plan for your use.
- Data vs discounts – are you looking for shared data options, or a simple discount?
- Contract length and type – consider how easy it would be to switch everyone in the future.
- How many people you can add – some plans have a limit of five, many allow eight, some even more.
- Other network features – check your local signal coverage, EU and global roaming allowance and any other aspects you consider important, such as customer service or availability of in-person stores.
Discover more ways your phone deal can help you out in our article seven mobile provider perks that can save you money.
What are the best family or shared mobile plans?
We’ve selected five of the best family plans available, offering a variety of savings, allowances, perks, data rollover and gifting.
BT Family Sim
This deal gives you multiple Sims for one household, paid for from one account. Each additional Sim is 20% cheaper.
It’s a good option if your family has similar data needs, but trickier if usage varies between people. You can have up to 5 Sims and choose from 4GB, 8GB, 12GB, 25GB, 40GB or 100GB of data per Sim.
All come with 4G and 5G enabled, unlimited minutes and texts, access to 5 million BT Wi-fi hotspots and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
BT broadband customers receive £5 off any of the plans and BT Halo customers get double data.
Check BT Sim-only deals to find out what’s available.
Sky Mobile shared rollover
Sky Mobile’s data ‘piggybank’ has been a popular perk for a long time. It allows customers to rollover any unused data at the end of the month and use it at a later date. Data can be kept for up to three years.
Since 2021, data saved in a Sky piggybank can be shared with up to seven other Sims linked to your account, so you can share your carefully hoarded data with friends and family.
This is a huge advantage if some of your family burn through data faster than others. Spare data can also be cashed out and exchanged for rewards such as a new phone or accessories.
Sky’s Sim-only deals start from just £6 per month.
Tesco Mobile family perks
Customers with two or more deals with Tesco Mobile can choose from a free perk each month. Each person can choose their own perk, so there’s no need to argue over the best option.
The available perks are:
- 250MB – 1GB of data
- 50p – £2 off your bill
- 500 Tesco Mobile minutes
- 50 – 200 Tesco Clubcard points
- 150 – 500 minutes to any network
- 75p – £2.25 off Tesco Mobile Protect insurance (only available at the start of a contract)
This is a great option if your household has varying priorities in how they use their phone.
Browse Tesco Mobile Sim-only deals to see which ones suit your needs.
EE Multi-Line Discount
EE offers a 20% discount on airtime plans (Sim-only, data Sim and Flex Pay device loan) that are added to a family account. A 10% discount is applied to Pay Monthly plans taken with a phone, laptop or tablet.
You can choose from a variety of data plans from 1GB to unlimited data, from any of EE’s standard range of plans.
This plan allows data gifting, so you can move excess data between your family if anyone gets low. The gifted data cannot be carried over to the next month, and all plans reset to their original data as each month begins.
You can also get 10% off yours EE Broadband bill every month when you’re an EE customer, along with an extra 20GB of mobile data every month.
EE’s Sim-only deals aren’t the cheapest around, so weigh up your options carefully.
Smarty group plan
By creating a Smarty group, the group owner can manage everyone’s usage and payments from one place, change plans or purchase add-ons for each Sim. Up to 8 Sims can be added to one account, and each will receive 10% off.
If you choose a money back plan, you can get a data discount for unused data. This is ideal for controlling a collection of household phones, or a variety of your own devices.
Group owners can:
- Make all of the Group’s payments and manage all payment details.
- See each member’s plan, usage, and call history starting from the day they join the Group.
- Edit each member’s plan and purchase add-ons to their plan.
- Remove any member from the Group and/or cancel the service for any member.
- Add friends and family members to the group, up to a total of 8, including the group owner.
Group members can:
- See their own plan, usage, and call history
- Edit their own personal details
Smarty Sim-only deals offer some of the best value in the mobile market.
Is a family or shared mobile plan the best option for you?
The benefits of some family plans will depend on your usage, such as Sky’s communal data piggyback, or Tesco’s monthly free perk. However, for plans that offer a discount, we’ve worked out how much you might be saving, or if there is a better option.
If everyone in your household has similar data requirements, BT’s family plan could be a good option. Five Sims with 8GB of data is £47, working out at £9.40 per person. Alternatively, five Sims with 10GB of data is £53, equivalent to £10.60 each.
This is quite a good deal, although there are still some cheaper single Sim options, such as iD Mobile offering 12GB of data for £7 a month.
In contrast, even with the discount, EE’s family plan may not work out as a cost-effective option as their Sim only deals are expensive. EE’s one month rolling contract for 5GB of data is £25 a month, so 20% off with the family plan it would still cost you £20 a month.
These discounts can be helpful, but you could find even better deals. Browse the Sim-deals on offer at Which? Switch Mobile to see what’s available, or check out our pick of the best Sim-only dealswhere we highlight options starting at just £5 per month
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